LAFAYETTE — It wasn’t that long ago that Louisiana-Lafayette senior second baseman Stefan Trosclair was still getting questions about why he wasn’t producing at last season’s prolific rate, when he drove in a team-best 53 runs.
Through the season’s first 49 games, Trosclair had driven in just 22 runs. He was hitting .256 and the Cajuns offense was, at times, sputtering without a big run producer in the middle of the order.
The Cajuns lined up to play Game 50 on May 13, since then, Trosclair has looked much like his old self.
Trosclair drove in three runs in the Cajuns’ 10-3 win against Arizona, giving him 17 RBI in his last 13 games, the last 12 of which have resulted in Cajuns wins.
“If he goes, we go,” said coach Tony Robichaux.
While that saying appears to be true based on the Cajuns’ offensive resurgence during the 12-game win streak, it’s also part of why Trosclair struggled early this season.
Trosclair thought he was the player who had to bear the weight of the offensive burden on his shoulders. He appears to have let that burden go.
“I think what he’s learned in this streak is that it doesn’t have to be him,” Robichaux said. “Because that pressure got taken off of him, that’s what made him better now. He doesn’t feel he has to just carry the team all the time — he doesn’t.”
Trosclair has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, and after a 2-for-3 day at the plate against the Wildcats, his batting average sits at a season-high .283.
Junior right-hander Jevin Huval entered Sunday’s game to start the sixth inning, and he did the Cajuns a huge favor by closing out the final three innings on his own without incident.
The Cajuns will now head into Monday’s regional championship having every pitcher in their arsenal available with the exception of Huval and Sunday’s starter, Gunner Leger.
That includes brilliant back-end bullpen arms Eric Carter and Dylan Moore, both of whom worked Friday.
Robichaux said he had to avoid temptation to use Moore to finish off Sunday’s game. That was made easier when the Cajuns offense struck for two runs in the fifth inning and one in the sixth, giving them a seven-run cushion.
“The hitters did a good job,” Robichaux said. “Every time they tacked on, it became easier and easier to keep (Moore) in the ‘pen. When you’ve got that Caddy, you want to drive him.”
Robichaux was not ready to name either Wyatt Marks or Evan Guillory the starter for Monday’s game since he did not yet know the opponent.
By winning Sunday, the Cajuns avoided what would’ve been a perilous route to a regional championship.
If they lost, they would’ve had to play a doubleheader Sunday, playing in an elimination game at 7 p.m. They would’ve then had to win two games on Monday in order to advance to the super regional round.
Not only would that task have been a difficult one to accomplish as a team, it also would’ve been very tough on catcher Nick Thurman, who is the Cajuns’ lone backstop.
“We’ve got an Achilles heel compared to everybody else,” Robichaux said. “They probably could start a second catcher, both of ours are hurt.”